The heavyweight title scene just got a bit clearer as former Strikeforce star and UFC newcomer Daniel Cormier (12-0) defeated veteran Frank Mir (16-7) via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 7 Saturday night.
Despite being the smaller man, Cormier simply had his way with Mir. It wasn't the most exciting approach, but Cormier utilized his strength to pin Mir against the cage and work his dirty boxing.
Even when Mir was able to disengage, Cormier used his quick hands to get the better end of the exchanges. Ultimately, Mir was swept on all three judges' scorecards.
Cormier was heralded as one of the brightest prospects to merge with the UFC roster after the now-defunct Strikeforce company closed its doors earlier this year, and a victory over one of the UFC’s heavyweight gatekeepers like Mir is monumental.
Using his great wrestling background—Cormier won six straight gold medals at the United States Freestyle Wrestling Championships (2003-2008)—as well as his heavy striking, the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion was able to show the UFC that he belonged in the big leagues of MMA.
As great as this win was for Cormier, it was even more devastating to Mir.
The former interim heavyweight champion was trying to avenge his previous loss to Junior dos Santos and begin his ascension back into title consideration, but that won’t happen after another heartbreaking loss.
Mir had three wins coming into his title fight against Dos Santos, but that loss coupled with his defeat Saturday to Cormier has the future of his MMA career in question.
This was Mir’s big chance to shine, and he failed.
As far as what is next for Cormier and his ascension into UFC title consideration, there is chance that the former Strikeforce champion will get his shot at the heavyweight title.
Junior dos Santos was not awarded an immediate rematch after his loss against reigning champion Cain Velasquez, and with Alistair Overeem losing to Antonio Silva, the possibility that a win of this magnitude could launch Cormier into the hunt for the title is realistic.
No matter what’s next, Cormier proved he’s a legitimate contender in the UFC’s most brutal division.